A STORY ABOUT A REAL MAN 9l man's in a hurry it shows there's life in him, and it's beating strong. Aren't I right, dearly beloved found- ling?. .. Write us from the hospital. Remember the address: Kalinin Region, Bologoye District, the future village of Plavni, what? Future, I say. Don't be afraid, it will reach us. Don't forget. The address is right!" When the stretcher was lifted into the aircraft and the pungent smell of aircraft fuel struck Alexei's nostrils he felt another upsurge of joy. The celluloid hood was drawn over his head. He did not see the people who had come to see him off waving their hands; he did not see the little old woman with the hooked nose, looking in her grey kerchief like an angry raven, struggling against fear and the wind raised by the propeller, push towards Degtyarenko, who was already in the cockpit, and hand him a packet with the rest of the chicken; he did not see Grandad Mikhail fussing round the aircraft, scolding the women and driving away the children; and how, when the wind had torn his cap from his head and sent it bowling over the ice, he stood bareheaded with his glisten- ing bald patch and thin silvery locks, looking like St. Ni- cholas in the simple village icons. He stood, waving his hand to the departing aircraft, the only man among the motley crowd of women. Hopping off the icy surface of the lake, Degtyarenko flew the plane over the heads of the crowd and cautiously, with the runners almost touching the ice, he flew along the lake under cover of its high, steep shore, and vanished behind a wooded island. This time, the daredevil of the wing who had received more than one dressing-down from his superior for recklessness in the air, flew cautious- ly; he did not fly, he crept, hugging the ground, follow- ing the courses of small rivers and taking cover under the shores of the lakes* Alexei saw nothing and heard nothing. The familiar smell of petrol and lubrication, and the joyous sensation of flying, caused him to lose consciousness. He came to only at the airfield when the stretcher was being lowered from the aircraft to transfer him to an emergency Red Cross craft that had already arrived from Moscow.